Friday, November 28, 2014

And then there were four...

Now that he's over a month old,  it's about time I get around to writing out his birth story!

It was SO very different to go into this pregnancy knowing the outcome would be a C-section.

We had an ultrasound done at 6 weeks to confirm pregnancy and check on everything since my progesterone levels were low.  Then we had the fetal scan/gender ultrasound at 18 weeks.  And that's it...  We went the other 21 1/2 weeks of our pregnancy without getting to see our baby--so strange.  But when I asked about having another one, my doctor explained that there really wasn't a need so the insurance wouldn't cover it--everything was going well, his heartbeat was great, my weight gain and measurements were perfect; and it really didn't matter what size he was because we would be having a section either way.  It made me nervous to not check on you with my eyes...but at the same time, what he was saying made sense.

Knowing the date we would most likely have you was also quite strange.  I didn't progress at all with Arabella, so I really didn't expect to this go round either; meaning I was pretty sure I'd make it to the section date with no labor at all (although it was only 4 days before my due date and that freaked me out sometimes!).  However, my doctor never once examined me to check progress, so I really had no clue.  That was also extremely strange.  But he didn't want to trigger anything to start, so he left well enough alone.  I was able to go to church the morning before we had you and tell people, "tomorrow!"  We were prayed over very intentionally for that day.  I could make plans for grandparents and work schedules and Arabella.  I was able to count down actual days to meeting you.  It was just a much more definite date than an estimated due date--the suspense was eased some, but the impatience was amplified.

So here's what actually happened...

My sister came over that Sunday night to take care of Arabella the next day for us.  We loaded up the car, cleaned the house, installed the carseats, and all that jazz Sunday night.  Then everybody went to bed except me...  I was already having restless nights and staying up pretty late; but there was no way I was able to go to bed at a decent hour anyway knowing I was having a baby in the next 8-10 hours.

We were scheduled for the first surgery of the day at 7:30, so we needed to be at the hospital at 6 (leaving the house at 5:30).  It was such a strange feeling to walk out of the house that morning, driving to the hospital knowing we would have you in a few short hours.  We walked in and headed up to the third floor to try and find out where to go.  Thankfully we passed a nurse (the floor was so empty that early in the morning!) who directed us through the poorly labeled maze of the maternity ward and we were able to get checked into pre-op.  Mimi and Papa (my parents) got there at the same time as us, so they were able to visit with us through the wait.  MawMaw, Nanny, and PawPaw (Hunter's parents) got there a little bit later.  And Aunt Mel and Arabella came that morning too.

They ended up having an emergency surgery which pushed us back about half an hour.  No biggie.  I basically rubbed your daddy's thumb raw while they put my IV in, but I managed to make it through with only one tear (this was oddly enough the part I was dreading the most...even moreso than the whole getting cut open bit).  Anyway, all the nurses and anesthesia personnel and doctors came in and got their questions answered and paperwork filled out.  And before we knew it, they brought in daddy's {hazmat} suit, I kissed your sister goodbye, and they wheeled me back to the OR.

I had to get the spinal done and get all situated before they let your daddy come in.  By the time he came in there, I was already starting to feel pretty crummy.  Thankfully, I had talked this over in detail with both the anesthetist--she was so fantastic.  I didn't ever once have to tell her I felt bad.  As soon as she could see it on my face, she adjusted my medicines to help the nausea subside.  That was SO helpful.

One of the nurses took daddy's phone as soon as he came in so she could take pictures for us and he could just be in the moment.  Loved that!  Those moments while they were prepping everything were so special.  Your daddy and I finally got the chance to put everything else going on out of our minds, look deeply at each other, and talk about having you.

Before we knew it, Dr. Bost was telling us to get ready, that you were coming out.  I'll never forget his reaction when he pulled your head out--"whoa, we've got a big ole boy in here!"  He had guessed you'd only be a little over 8 pounds, almost definitely smaller than your sister.  I knew he was wrong. I had been telling people for months that you were going to be big...  I wasn't huge for a pregnant woman, but you were everywhere.  I couldn't breathe, every move you made hurt me (and you were strong!), and you just felt a lot bigger than Arabella...which at almost an inch longer and more than a pound heavier, I was right!

He had to basically climb on my chest to get enough peerage to pull you out.  I literally couldn't breathe until you were out of me.  And then he lifted you over the curtain and I teared up immediately.  It was so hard for me to wrap my head around having another kid through the entire pregnancy; and laying my eyes on you for the first time was enough to swell my heart.

And then you cried and I started up again!  I was so emotional the whole time you were back there with us.  They cleaned you up and got you all labeled and banded while they sewed me up.  Then you and daddy went off to the nursery to finish all of your stats and such.  I remember the nurse coming back in and telling me how much you weighed, and that's it.  I don't remember anything else until we were in the room and I had fed you.  Your daddy tells me I was wide awake and having conversations the whole time, but for the life of me, I don't remember any of it.

I do remember being in our room (not at all getting there...) and feeding you.  Our nurse that day didn't want anyone to hold you--or even leave you in the room for that matter.  You weren't crying and you were making all these little grunts and flaring your nostrils (all typical for new babies...and you haven't stopped since).  Anyway, she said all of these were signs that you were stressed out and your lungs were struggling (say what?!).  I had to ask her to leave you in the room and she said she would, but nobody needed to hold you.  Well that lasted all of about the 2 seconds it took her to close the door before I told one of your grandmamas that they better pick you up.  After that, it was history and you got all kinds of loving for the rest of the day.

It took Arabella a little while to warm up to the idea of holding you...or really having anything to do with you other than looking.  She was pretty concerned about me not feeling well, so that took most of her focus.  However, Juannie finally got her to hold you that evening.  It only lasted about a minute before she said, "oh, but he's so heavy!" and handed you back off.  Each day, she got more comfortable and more fond of you.  Now, at a month old, she refuses to let you go anywhere without her and begs to hold you all the time.  She absolutely adores you.

Your glucose levels wouldn't stay up, so they had to do several Accuchecks on you before you ate and we had to supplant with formula a few times.  You also struggled with jaundice and your levels wouldn't stop climbing.  We even had to do 3 bilirubin tests after we left the hospital before we finally started to see a decline.  Mama's blood counts were really low again, but thankfully I wasn't showing any tell tale symptoms and escaped the need for a transfusion.  They discharged both of us on Thursday (you were born on Monday).

Oh, mama and daddy love you two more than you will ever, ever know.

We are completely in love with you, Kaplan Paul.  Welcome to our crazy little family--we'll do our best to get you through this crazy big world.  

And then there were four...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gratitude can transform ordinary days into Thanksgivings...

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!  I hope today is centered around gratitude for you--both in the joys and the struggles, the highs and the lows, the big and the small.  I hope that in whatever plot mark life has you in right now, that you are ale to see through eyes of gratitude.  Those lenses will change Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to a constant state of being,  And that will bring more peace and joy to you than you could ever dream.

A small list of things I'm grateful for today, in my right now:

--my husband.  I could not have ever dreamed that I would find my match at 15 years old.  Or that I would snag him and he, me, so quickly and completely.  He is my other and often better half.  He works harder than any other person I know.  He serves, protects, and provides.  His heart is passionate and his brain is eager.  He loves fully and fiercely.  He is tender-hearted and hard-headed.  He has blown me away as a daddy.  I could not ask for anything more in a husband and I will forever be grateful for everything he is to my life.

--my children.  They are the most beautiful creatures I have ever laid my eyes on and they hold my heart.  They have taught me that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be.  They have taught me how to be extremely patient and how to love so much it literally hurts.  They have shown me what absolute joy and innocence are.  They have made me worry and fear more than anything else in my life before; yet they have also made me happier and more carefree than anything else.  They amaze me every single day, and I still struggle to understand how I was chosen to be their mama.  They are my best gifts and I am beyond grateful for that grace.

--my Hunter's job.  I absolutely cannot stand the hours he's working and the stress he's under and how much of him they've stolen from me and our kids this year.  But.  It is a very good job that supports our family very well; and it is a job he is very good at and usually loves.  So, while I don't like it right now, I am extremely grateful for it.

--our families.  Since Hunter and I started dating so young, our families really aren't "in-laws" to us...each other's families helped raise us; each other's siblings are like our own; a lot of each other's family memories include the other...  The upbringings we had and the love we live in is just incredible.  We owe so much to our families, and we are so very grateful for each and every member.

--my two best friends, Rachel and Dajuanna.  Rachel's birthday is today and Dajuanna's is Sunday--and I just find it so fitting that these two beauties share "their day" with a time of year centered around giving thanks.  These girls are my rocks, my advisors, my people.  They are my go to for my biggest excitement and my deepest heartbreak.  They've seen me at my worst and completely loved me through it.  They know me better than almost anyone else, including myself.   They've both shown me precious glimpses of Jesus, and there is not a single day that goes by that I am not utterly grateful for each of their friendship.

--our church family.  We have been loved so well and so fully by our home congregation here.  They have served as a safe place of embrace as Hunter and I establish our own faith walk as a married couple and young family.  They love our children as they own (my kids have SO many "aunts/uncles" and "grandparents" there) and are helping us raise them to know and love Jesus.  Our youth group has completely stolen our hearts and our passion...serving alongside those teens and being allowed to witness their growth is truly one of the most incredible things we've been able to do.  We are so grateful for the experiences we've had, the lessons we've learned, and the people we've loved there.

--our home, laughter, music, crafting supplies, creativity, good books, second (and third, fourth, and fifth) chances, hope, family pictures, Colic Calm (miracle medicine...seriously), blog world, Cajun food and my beautiful home state of Louisiana, memories, chocolate chip peppermint shakes from Chick-Fil-A, education and learning, chilly weather, football,  soft pillows, road trips and vacations, movies, love stories, Pinterest and Facebook, my stamp club, giving gifts, secrets, bubble baths, Sonic ice, tears, childish giggles, fans, Shutterfly books (love/hate relationship...but the love usually wins out), good kisses and warm hugs, big fuzzy blankets, sleep, each and every one of you...

And none of this gratitude or joy or hope or peace would be full in my heart without the promise of freedom provided by the blood of Jesus.  His perfect love is the lens I pray my heart to use.  That I will be able to see every person, opportunity, and even struggle as a chance to rejoice and offer thanks.

Find the good in every day.  Be grateful every day.  And allow every day to become Thanksgiving.

But for the sake of today and the holiday, I hope you get to get your grub on surrounded by your best people :)

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
love, angie

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can I just be honest?

**Warning:  this post is a major vent session for me, and about a topic that has the possibility of being "controversial".  If you choose to read it and your response is ugly or judgmental, please, for the sake of this tired mama's sanity and sense of worth, keep it to yourself.**

I know I haven't gotten around to writing out the birth story just yet, but we had our little boy 3 weeks ago.  He was a biggun and all in all is a really good baby.

And golly, he's pretty.  Just like his big sister.  They are my greatest gifts and I love my babies dearly.

But can I just be honest about a couple of things?  A couple of things I really don't like?

1.  I really don't like (as in on the verge of using hate most of the time)...breastfeeding.

With Arabella, I only lasted 3 weeks.  And honestly, I don't know how on earth I lasted as long as I did with her.  I was sick (anemia, very low blood counts, irregular blood pressure, and a very destructive gall bladder) without really knowing the extent; so I was even more exhausted than newborn normal and I just never felt good at all.  I also never produced enough milk for her, so she was very restless and fussy...because I was basically starving her.  It became my strongest trigger for postpartum depression and things turned ugly quick.  After some talking with my husband and sister to work through my feelings of guilt and failure, and talking to my nurse about what all was going on and how I was feeling, I found myself no longer breastfeeding (one of the biggest feelings of relief in my life) and on a nice little dose of anti-depressant.  For me, it was the right decision.

After that experience, I really had no idea if I would even try to breastfeed again.  I shocked a lot of people (myself included) when we got pregnant with Kaplan and I told them I wanted to try again.  We're at the three mark right now, and I can honestly say things are going so much smoother with him.  I'm producing, he's latching (usually) and growing, he's put himself on a pretty regular eating schedule.  But guess what...I still hate it.

There are SO many pushes right now for breastfeeding.  And while I think that's great because I really do know, understand, and believe the benefits of nursing...I also find them pretty judgmental and detrimental to those of us mamas who choose to or must use formula.  I'm sure this post alone will get some feathers ruffled of those who are extremely passionate breastfeeders.  But that's not my intention at all.  I simply need an outlet and this is one of my best; plus I know there are other mamas who feel the same way I do, and I personally know how important it is to realize and recognize you aren't the only one who feels this way.

So why do I not like it?  Let's see...
--I'm so tired of being sore.  (plus, he has thrush, so that has made us both hurt and even more miserable.)
--I'm really tired of smelling all the time.  It's gross.  The combination of milk, saliva, lanolin, and just smells.
--Feeling helpless is exhausting and very lonely.  I'm so tired of being the only one who can "fix" anything that he needs.  I crave help...and I actually really enjoy (and miss) watching other people being able to feed my babies, especially their daddy.
--Having to sleep in a bra.  And wear one 24/7.  And they aren't cute or comfortable.  Oh, and let's add wearing nursing pads to that.
--I don't like having to remember what I ate and wonder what ingredient "messed him up" or caused him any tummy troubles.  I'm from Louisiana--I love spicy food.  When crawfish fettuccine gave him tummy problems the whole next day, that right there was enough for me to consider calling it quits.
--I strongly dislike comfort nursing.  That whole "strong bonding experience" that everyone claims comes with nursing--yeah, I've never felt that.  I can't stand knowing that he's not hungry but just wants to be on me all the time.
--Figuring out something to wear is even more difficult now than when I was clothing my huge pregnant belly.  I have to find a shirt that can easily be lifted and he fit under or can be pulled down in the front; and I run out of those quickly.  Plus, it's starting to get cold and I really want to wear my hoodies and long sleeve t-shirts...those are so inconducive to nursing.  And by golly, I really just want to wear clothes that fit!
--Feeding takes so long.  He eats pretty much every three hours; sometimes he'll stretch it to four.  Well that's every three hours from when he starts.  And then he eats for 45 minutes at the least.  2 hour breaks...and that's assuming he doesn't comfort nurse in between (which unless he is absolutely sound asleep doesn't happen).
--Convenient?  SO many people tell me all the time how much more convenient breastfeeding is that bottle feeding.  Well, in my opinion, that is definitely not the case.  Sure, it's nice to not have to wash bottles or pack them in the diaper bag.  However, having to plan everything I do around when he eats; having him melt down in the middle of a store or dinner because he's hungry; making sure I'm accessible all the time in case he gets hungry or has one of those needs for a blasted comfort feed...that's not convenient.  Being able to give him a bottle whenever and wherever we are--and that someone else can feed him if I'm doing something else (including taking care of or playing with my other child...)--that is convenience to me.
--It makes me frustrated with my kid, and that's not cool.
--I just really don't like it.

So why have I not stopped?  Let's see...
--everything is working and I feel really guilty and like a complete failure to quit (refer back to all of those pushes for breastfeeding over formula...  not to mention hormones).
--it's free.
--I do know the benefits (trying to decide how my mental and emotional states suffering compares to the benefits).

We're just over 3 weeks with Kaplan (apparently that's my threshold...)  I haven't decided yet how long we'll last.  I am somewhat starting the weaning process because I know it will happen at some point.  And since it needs to go so slowly, I really need it to start now before I lose my mind.  Who knows, maybe in the next couple of weeks I won't mind it as much or may even start to like it.  But even so, I'd be ok with at least a couple-few feedings be by bottle.  We'll see what happens.

While I'm ruffling feathers and being honest, let me tell you what else I'm not a huge fan of.

2.  The newborn stage.

Now, before you go condemning me and gasping in horror, let me clarify that I love newborns.  But it is a completely different beast when you are having to be the life source for one of those tiny critters versus getting to be a good snuggle buddy and then parting ways.

When they're sleeping, there is nothing better than a newborn.  They're tiny and they smell good and they snuggle so well.  But the problem is, they wake up and they wake up POed.  And they wake up a lot.  Especially at night when all you want to do is not wake up.  And they cry a lot.  And they poop all the time and spit up quite a bit.

I went to the Dollar Store by myself the other night to pick up a late night treat (really wanted some ice cream...)  Our Dollar General has an entrance drive in our neighborhood, so it is literally right up the road and I was only gone about 10 minutes.  But as soon as I got in the car and pulled out of my driveway, I was completely overwhelmed with a sense of freedom.  It was completely unexpected and it flooded me.  I had no idea how "trapped" I truly felt until I was able to just be me and just be alone.  Even if it was only for a 10 minute trip to the dollar store.

Call me crazy, but I much prefer about 3 months on up.  When they start to figure things out, gain some personality...when my hormones balance back out...

The really weird thing is that I know I'll miss the newborn stage, even though I really don't like it all that much while I'm in it.  It won't happen immediately, but this tiny, helpless being who is absolutely exhausting will have me missing this phase.  However, those well-intentioned tips to "enjoy every minute"...yeah, that's crap.  I will miss the tiny snuggles and the cooing and the weaker cry (vs. the all out scream fest an older child can produce...weak may not be the right word, but the cry of a newborn is softer and more delicate); I will miss the innocence and the wonder.  But I won't miss the exhaustion and unpredictability...and frankly, those aren't "minutes" I enjoy.

3.  Turnarounds.

Hate them.  And I am SO over this one that my boy is working.

So there ya have it.  Little Kaplan and I will keep trudging along, figuring each other out and what works best for both of us.    Right now though, we're going to take a nap :)

love, angie

PS--I really am ok (after my issues last time, my people start to worry when I get frustrated...).  We get along most of the time and everything is working as well as it's supposed to with a new baby.  Fret not family and friends...I promise I'm not going crazy this time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dear Arabella,

Oh you beautiful are THREE years old!  

And what a week it has been because you also just became a BIG SISTER!  

So many milestones growing you up at once...

This year has flown by.  I'm told they only get faster and faster--so not looking forward to that.  
You learn things and understand concepts so quickly.  You are extremely observant and can spot an airplane in the sky or a school bus parked in the back of a building that leave me searching; you notice every little detail about what goes on around you, and you remember them; it amazes us.

Things you are loving right now:

--using the potty!  We really only had one bad day of potty training.  Took a few days off and then you picked it up like a champ.  You've already filled up one sticker chart and earned yourself a trip to the bookstore :)  It's so fun to see how proud of yourself you are!

--working and hanging out with your daddy.  He's been so busy at work this year, so you really soak up all the time you can with him when he's home.  Working on or riding in the Bronco, fishing or crabbing in the boat, planting and growing a garden... Whatever the project, if your daddy is doing it, you can bet you're right there close "helping".

--playing dress up.  You've really gotten into costumes and jewelry and "glass slippers" (your plastic high heels) in the past couple of months.  You crack us up when you come in all dolled up!

--Frozen.  As in the movie.  Holy moly....  I took you to see it in the movie theater back in January (your only trip to the movies as of now)--you were mesmerized!  And so of course we bought it when it came out on DVD and have since watched it 100+ times...  You sing the songs all the time and are dressing as Anna for Halloween.  Ob-sessed.  (also a really big fan of "Sofia the First" and "Doc McStuffins" right now)

--your BIG girl bed!  Since Kaplan was coming, we needed your bed to become a crib again.  That meant the queen sized bed was going to your room.  I was a little nervous about making this switch, but you absolutely love that big ole bed (who wouldn't?!) and sleep so well in it.

--puzzles.  You could sit and work puzzles all day long.  You're even getting old enough to do some flat puzzles with a little bit of help.

--cooking.  If I'm in the kitchen cooking or baking or making anything to eat, your favorite place to be is sitting on the counters.  You watch every move I make, ask all kinds of questions, and help in all the ways you can right now (mostly pouring things in and stirring).  I hope you grow up keeping that love! You also love a good kitchen set to play with.

--PINK.  Holy moly, you all of a sudden became obsessed with the color pink.  You'll even randomly announce to me throughout the day, "mama, I just love pink".   Anything you pick out needs to be pink; your birthday party has to be pink; even your pony tail bands need to be pink...this is all much to your daddy's dismay.

Things I want to remember:

--I think I've said this every year, but your giggle.  It is SO adorable and incredibly infectious.  You'll even snort every once in a while if you laugh hard enough :)

--how every night before you went to sleep, you kissed and hugged my stomach to tell your brother goodnight.  And randomly throughout the day, all the sweet little are going to be an incredible big sister.

--the way you dance.  You bend your little knees and squeeze them together and then wiggle your hips back and forth like you're a hula dancer.  You love to dance!

--you still absolutely love music.  "Fix My Eyes" by For King and Country is your favorite song on the radio right now.  It cracks me up because every time it comes on and you hear the clapping, you ask me to turn it up!  You can also recognize what movie a song came from when we listen to the Disney channel on in the first three to five beats of music if it's a movie you've seen.  I love that you have an ear for tone and melody!  AND on this have started singing songs by yourself and it is beautiful.  Twinkle Little Star is your favorite, but you also like Row Your Boat.  Singing your songs together at bed time is one of our favorite moments.

--how perfectly you fit under my arms and into my side when you lean in for a good snuggle (it doesn't happen often, but oh how I love it when you do!)

--your prayers.  Sometimes we can get you to say the prayer on your own (you'll normally repeat after me or daddy).  It is the most heart warming and precious thing ever to hear you express your thanks and heart to our God.  You always mention things specific to that day and end with "and help me make good choices".

I hope you always take time like this to sit and enjoy life.  Relax, giggle, live.  Mine and your daddy's dreams for you are so big, but our God's plans for you are bigger than anything we could ever imagine.  We are terrified but excited to see where you get to go and who you get to become in this life.  We are so, so grateful for every minute we get with you, and completely humbled that we were chosen to be your parents.  Arabella, you and your brother are my most treasured gifts, and I promise that I will always love you more than you will ever know. 

Happy birthday, my love!
love, mama

Sunday, October 19, 2014

the night before...

Knowing a specific date that an important event makes it seem like it will be fooooorrreeeever before it gets here--the last day of school; a big vacation; a surgery...

October 20, 2014 has been that day for me...because it's the day I finally get to meet you.

Here we sit the night before, in a quiet house.  Daddy is in bed snoring; Aunt Mel and Arabella are snuggled up in her bed; the laundry and dishes are washed and put away; the bags and the car are packed; and the clock is slowly ticking by...

So we're snuggled up in the chair, enjoying one last peaceful night.  This is far from our last night of hanging out together while everyone else is sleeping (but those have the potential to not be this peaceful...).  I'm trying to soak up each little (ok, big) wiggle and kick you'll give me.  It's reached the point of being pretty painful because you're so big in there, but I know that as soon as you're out, that's what I'll miss the most--those jolts and jiggles that only you and I share.

It is so difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that I actually am having another baby tomorrow.  In eight measly hours, we get to meet.  That makes my heart flutter and my mind race and my stomach a little uneasy (just really not looking forward to all of the needles and knives it takes to get you here...).  

You have so many people who are ready to meet you and love on you (a big ole daddy, an anxious mama, and the most beautiful big sister ever top that list).  It is so hard to be tired and go to sleep knowing I'm so close to my grand prize--you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

just a few thoughts

First of all--this weather!  We are finally getting some cooler temps that should be here at least through the week, and it is just what my little self needed to perk up some.  Walking outside actually makes me smile instead of burst into sweats immediately and hurry back inside...  Ahhhh, welcome, our tiny little version of Fall...

This week had the potential to be one of the longest and slowest of my life.  Knowing a scheduled date for our baby to be born (assuming and hoping I don't go into labor before then) has been convenient in a lot of ways.  But at the same time, it has made it seem like that day would never get here.

So what started as a very empty week that would pass very slowly (and uncomfortably) got changed up today.  And I am SO grateful!

I went to the doctor today for my last scheduled appointment.  Everything still looks great and we're on for next Monday!  My blood pressure was the highest today that it's been the whole pregnancy (114/76), but it was still better than it normally is when I'm not even pregnant.  We are SO grateful that I haven't had any issues with that this go round!  I came home and whipped up some dinner and brought some over to a lady from church who recently broke her neck and just got home from a rehab facility.  (but today was the only day that originally had any plans...)

Now, tomorrow, AJ and I are headed to the hospital to do all of my pre-op registration paperwork and lab work.  Not really something to look forward to, but at least it's something to do and it gets us one step closer to my baby boy getting here.

Wednesday is my shopping day.  I'm headed to Walmart to get everything I can think of that we'll need to be stocked up on (toiletries, detergents, toilet paper, snacks, drinks, etc.) so that I won't have to worry with running out of any of that for a few weeks with a newborn.

Thursday I get to have a date with my BFF!  I wrote and asked her about going to get a pedicure with me (it's always better with a friend)--my feet have desperately been needing some attention and I would love to have that done before giving birth.  Those plans evolved into a shopping trip and dinner too :)  I must say, I'm really looking forward to my little girls' night out before I'm completely tied down to baby's schedule and needs again.

Friday and Saturday, I'll be breaking out my cookie monster to make some Halloween treats for my youngest niece's pre-K class.  My sister jokingly suggested I could make some to help pass the time this week--and I was all about it!  It's a small "order" so it'll be just enough to be fun (plus, she doesn't need as many as a batch makes, so we'll have some extras to munch on!)

Sunday is our last day as a family of three (crazy concept for me to wrap my brain around...).  We'll have church that morning and getting all the details taken care of the rest of day--packing the car, cleaning up the house, finishing the laundry, and probably playing some Candy Land with our girl...  That night will end with a meal out (more than likely of my favorites!)--it'll be a few days before I can eat a really good meal again, so I'm getting what I want that night!

And that brings us to Monday...dark and early, we'll head to the hospital to get checked in, suited up, and cut open...and get to meet our precious baby boy.  I cannot wait to see what he looks like, smells like, tastes like (smooches!), snuggles like, sounds like...I cannot wait to know him.  And I cannot wait to get him out of me :P

We're hoping and praying that everything continues to go as smoothly as they have so far, and that Kaplan and I both handle delivery and recovery and life together well.  Looking forward to my last "just busy enough" week!

love, angie

Saturday, October 4, 2014

And his room is finally finished...

Last year, my sister and I  had the brilliant idea to host a youth rally.  It was fabulous and blessed, but it was a ton of work.  So I knew going into it this year--especially being pregnant and working multiple jobs and having 18 million other things on my plate--that I wasn't going to be able to get anything done at home "baby wise" until the youth rally was over.  That included his nursery (especially since we were housing people, I couldn't disassemble my guest room until then).

Well then, my lovely boy informed my that we would be moving as early as January.  Don't freak out on me...those plans have since fallen through...gotta love being at the mercy of an oil refinery.  So then, I pretty much decided he wasn't even going to have a nursery in this house.  I didn't want to go through all that work and spend all the time and money to get it ready, when he wouldn't even really need it before we left.  That decision made me sad (because getting the room together is fun and makes the baby coming seem more real), but at the same time, it was a huge item I could take off of my to do list.  

And then Exxon had all kinds of issues happen that affected my boy and his schedule and plans--so everything we thought was going to happen went way up in the air.  And now we know we're moving, but have no idea when and no idea where.  So here we were with less than 2 months to go, myself used to the idea of not thinking about planning out a nursery...and now I need to get something whipped together quickly

Luckily, I had chosen colors pretty much as soon as we found out we were pregnant--grey, mint, and yellow...we'd add coral for a girl and navy for a boy.  Now I just had to find stuff those colors, move everything around, get his furniture, figure out a layout, and all that other jazz!

I couldn't do much of anything until the furniture was switched (Arabella got the queen bed in her room and the crib and changing table switched to the now nursery) and the room was painted.  Since Hunter was prepping for a turnaround (oh have I not mentioned yet that he started a turnaround yesterday that will go through Thanksgiving?  And that we have a baby smack dab in the middle of that time period?  Another joy of being at the mercy of an oil refinery...I digress...), he wasn't home to be able to help do much.  My fabulous parents came over one weekend and dad switched all of the furniture; the next weekend, my mother-in-law was kind enough to come paint.  I seriously could not have gotten it done without their help.  

MawMaw had a pretty awesome painter's assistant early that Saturday morning
It's been a long process getting pieced together slowly as we had showers and pay periods to be able to get what was missing...but it's finally finished!

Here's the view looking in from the door.  We have a pretty small house with no storage other than the bedroom closets...  So I was pretty nervous about how I was going to fit everything we needed for him in there.  I didn't clean out his closet because I have nowhere else to put all of my things that are in there--and it's finally all organized and accessible.  There's a rod in there to hand his clothes on, but no extra storage room at all...  Really, it's all working out ok.  That big pile of diapers in the corner (which we are SOOOO thankful for!) is the only thing that I would really love to be able to fit in a closet.  But I can so handle them sitting in that corner--especially since that's that many months of diaper butts we didn't have to find money for...

Let's go wall by wall:

This is the door to the left of that top picture.  The door to the room would be on the left side and the door frame you can see is the closet.  I opted for one of the little cube systems (from Target) because I really do love them.  I have one in this closet and Bella's and our teen room at church and they are just plum practical.  I went with white to help lighten up the room some since all the other furniture is dark brown.  It still works without clashing because of the white trim and accents.  
It's also crazy to me that as worried as I was about storage, that this thing is basically empty as of right now.  The bottom yellow bucket has small toys in it; the other three are empty.

The framed pictures on the wall in this picture and the next are printables I ordered on Etsy.  I got cheap wood frames from Wal-Mart and painted them with leftover paint from his door hanger (which you also get a peek of in this picture).

The shelf on the wall (made out of an old shutter and some door knobs) came from Hobby Lobby and I love it.  
The little knick knacks came from a combination of Hobby Lobby (giraffe plaque and ultrasound frame), Michael's (giant clothespins--that can hang on the wall!), Kohl's (happy together picture frame), Amazon (storage cubes--couldn't find those colors in store), Gordman's (love you more block), and Everything's a Dollar (mint green jar--actually a flower pot).

This is the wall that you look directly at when you walk in the room.  To the left is the window which corners up with the closet on the adjacent wall.  

The changing table pad cover is mint chevron and I ordered in from Kohl's online.  It was very difficult for me to find one of these in any of the four colors...

I'm loving the combination of baskets on the changing table this go round!  The big wicker basket (on the shelf) holds extra diaper pail refills, boogie wipes, lotion, Dreft, and rubbing alcohol.  The little blue bin in the middle has all of the meds and creams.  The big mintish green one (from Gordman's) holds sleep sacks and receiving blankets.
The yellow one has diapers and the navy blue one has all the extra wipes.  The grey striped one in the middle (from Target) has his blankets tucked inside.

That big wicker basket on the floor is from Target (found in the gardening section...kind of...not with all the other baskets).  I have one of these in Bella's room too and I use them as their laundry baskets. They are big and sturdy and those little chalkboards on them are just fun!  My friend Rachel introduced me to these and I love them.

And of course, we have the beloved diaper pail.  This one is the Arm and Hammer brand, and when the baking soda dispenser is fresh, the smell really is maintained well (I need to replace that before he gets here...)  I also have started keeping an air freshener at the bottom of it under the bag and it helps tremendously!  The best kind I've found is actually the car fresheners from Bath and Body Works.

The big K on the wall is from Hobby Lobby--I had my eye on those big metal letter for months and it was the first thing I bought when we decided his name.  The framed art are the printables and painted frames I mentioned earlier.

His bed in on the wall to the far right when you walk in the door.  It has that big pile of diapers to the left side (corner between it and the changing table).

This bed has been a toddler bed for over a year now and it seems so weird to see the front panel back on it...  That incredible knit blanket draped over the edge is from Babies R Us (as is the crib, but we bought it 3.5 years ago) and it is as snuggly as it looks.  The sheets and bed skirt and rug are from Target.  That perfect pillow in the corner was a Hobby Lobby score!

His name canvas is one of my favorites.  A friend of mine--who is a fabulous artist--paints these to match bedding/decor.  I found this fabric and fell in love with it (if it wasn't crazy daisy expensive, I was going to make his curtains out of this).

I sent her that picture and asked if she could use this for his canvas decoration since I didn't have a theme or specific decor to go off of, only colors.  She accepted the challenge (although the iKat was more of a pain that she had expected)!

I just asked if she'd add a few touches of yellow to tie all the colors together.  I am so, so pleased with how it turned out! (and love that it's different from the individual letters like we did in Arabella's room)

Finally, here's the wall that the door is on (so directly to your right/beside you when you walk in).  It has his dresser on it (South Shore brand from Target...opted for a cheap one now and when he's older we'll get a real wood piece).

The little basket on the floor to the right is yellow and grey in a fun pattern (from Gordman's) and it houses all of his little shoes.

There is another wooden decorative block from Gordman's and another mint flower pot from Everything's a Dollar on top of it.  

The picture frame (which currently holds one of our maternity pictures but will eventually have one of his newborn pictures in it) came from Hobby Lobby and is propped on an easel.  The wall art was my first purchase for his room...I fell in love with that saying and I'm a sucker for some pallet art.  The yellow and grey chevron and football "books" are storage boxes that will hold little keepsakes through the years.  They as well as the art piece also came from Hobby Lobby. (it may be mine and Bella's favorite store...I adore the fact that she begs to go to "yobby yobby"!)

The lamp...oh the lamp.  I fell in love with that shade (surprise, surprise from Hobby Lobby).  It was simple, the right color, but with some shimmer in it to add pizazz without being too busy.  
The lamp base that you can't really see, is a white ceramic owl from Wal-mart.  I love me a hootie and was so excited to find him!
But when I got home and went to put them together--after I had stupidly taken off all of the packaging on both of them--that they don't fit together.  The lamp shade has a really high adapter thingamajig (I am ALL about the technical terms), so it covers up a lot of the base it sits on...unless it's supposed to have one of those harp adapter things?  But the owl base doesn't fit those either.


So I still have to find a lamp, but that it where it will go...some day.

Phew!  If you made it through this whole post, kudos and thanks to you!  I'm kind of out of breath and I wasn't even saying all of this out loud!  Oh yeah, I'm always out of breath because I'm 9 months preggo with a man child...  Anyway, it feels so wonderful to have his room finished!  We were still hanging up Arabella's alphabet wall at 11:00 the night before I was admitted to the hospital...  I walk in there so many times a day and just smile, straightening something out and making sure it's all just right.  I still have moments (a lot of them) when I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that we're having another one...or that I'm having a little boy...

But oh how ready I am (at least until he gets here and I can't sleep anymore :P)!

love, angie

Friday, October 3, 2014

Baby Boy Hospital Door Hanger

I didn't make a door hanger with Arabella.  They're not something I dislike by any means, but I didn't want to spend the money to buy one or have the time (or money) to make one...and I wasn't really sure what I would have done with it when we got home.  So I just didn't worry about it.  And I was and still am really ok with that.

I wasn't really planning on getting one this time either.  But just for kicks, I Googled and Pinterested images and examples and came across this one:

I loved it!  There were several variations of it that were just as fun.  And the more I looked into it, I learned that the designer, Joley Bean Designs, is a little boutique in Farmerville (yes you read that correctly...)--a little town in Louisiana just north of Ruston where Louisiana Tech is located; my mom's family also lives up there and always has.  I had never heard of this little shop, but you can bet your buttons I'll be visiting it next time I'm up there!

Anyway, the more I looked at it and thought about it, the more confident I got that it was something I could make on my own.  So off to Michael's and Hobby Lobby I went (oh, sad day... :P)

I found the ribbon at Hobby Lobby (and of course bought it while their ribbon was half off).  Everything else came from Michael's (where I used some coupons and scored great deals too!).

These are the four colors of his nursery and I wanted to make sure they were all included in there.  These are the match ups I decided to do as far as layering the ribbon.

The paint was Martha Stewart's Satin acrylic paint.  It's thick and covered those little wooden pieces extremely easily.  The burlap canvas was a little trickier to paint on with it being so thick.  

The "mint" color was also very blue once I got it painted.  So I had to go get some minty, lime green from Walmart to mix in with that and the yellow.  I got a lot closer to mint than before, but it's still pretty blue.  Oh well--that's what I get for picking a difficult color!

I put if off for a really long time because I was so nervous.  I am a crafter and I love making my own things...but painting, especially words, are not in my comfort zone.  I was so scared I was going to mess something up...

But I finally got up the courage and umph to tackle the beast a few nights ago.  So down I sat with my paint, brushes, glue guns, and all my supplies and bravely got to work.  

{I may have burnt off three of my fingerprints using the stupid high temp glue gun with the ribbon.  Work place dangers.}

After many, many midnight texts with my bff (she or my childhood bff normally do the word painting business for me!), I finally bit the bullet, traced out his name, took a deep breath and painted it out.  I was even more nervous because I had glued the fleur de lis down first so that limited my spacing tremendously.  I solved that by making it look like it intersected the K.  Had I not done that, I feel his name would have been too small or too squishy or way uneven.  I also didn't leave any room to write his middle name this way, and I would have liked to included that.  Oh well.  Ya live, ya learn.

Next came the part I was even more nervous about--highlights.  I waited until the next night so that I was able to take some time away as well as let the navy get good and dry.  They are by NO means perfect nor up to the caliber that my girls are capable of, but for me, they're fantastic!  I like how much the name pops with those colors added in.

I also tried to paint a scripture reference in the center oval of the fleur de lis.  It looked absolutely horrible.  So I wiped it off as best I could and just painted the whole thing grey.  I'm actually really pleased that happened.  The black didn't look bad necessarily, but I wan't crazy about it up next to the navy.  And now, only his nursery colors are used instead of throwing in the random black. (the edges are still black since I painted it after it was glued, so you can really see the touch too)

And here's the final product!

I layered the ribbon (hot glue...low temp) and glued the wooden blocks onto them in the order I wanted them (the writing on those was done with paint pens...which will be coming to the hospital with us so my sister can write in his stats).  I trimmed and glued the ribbon (including the top one) to the wooden frame of the canvas.  Then I popped them with a staple gun to add some extra stability and support.  

I am really pleased with how it turned out and am excited to get it hung on the hospital door in a couple of weeks!  It's different from the norm that people get in gift shops, and it's something that will look great in his room (especially since I can easily remove the stat ribbons when he gets older and it'll just be his name).

16 more days--woo hoo!
love, angie